The heated debate on so called Intolerance and Award Wapsi keeps throwing an obvious question – Why now? What has happened after the ascent of BJP/RSS to power at the center, and in some States since 2014, to cause such widespread alarm in the citizenry? One explanation is that those protesting against the growing atmosphere of intolerance in the country are inherently intolerant to the idea of BJP/RSS and Mr. Modi in power. But for once, an explanation can be suggested by shifting the focal point of debate from intolerance to tolerance! If writers / scientists / artists / filmmakers / actors / historians / intellectuals /free thinkers / social workers who are protesting or returning their awards now, are inherently intolerant to the idea of BJP/RSS and Mr. Modi, then why were they so tolerant during and after 2002 Gujrat riots when the same BJP/RSS and Mr. Modi were in power both in the state of Gujarat and at the Center? Why did no one think of returning awards during and after such a humongous tragedy happened right under the nose of same BJP/RSS and Mr. Modi? Does this mean, that these intellectuals were agents of tolerance for BJP/RSS at that time? Deep anguish and concern were raised from all corners of the country but nobody thought of returning awards because the country was assured by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘follow your ‘Raj Dharma’ statement. Just that and it was enough to assuage the sentiments of wounded India! Unfortunately, this time the country has no such reassurance.
True, some incidents of violence generated by intolerance took place in non-RSS/BJP States. But even there, those involved in actual atrocities invariably belong to RSS/BJP or their affiliates. And if the blame of intolerance generated violence must rest with the State Chief Ministers alone, because law and order is a state subject, then who should take the blame for the 2002 Gujarat riots? Moreover, the involvement of RSS/BJP in violent activities, directly or indirectly, in the past also does not give any assurance to large sections of society. Contemptuous statements by the members of RSS/BJP from time to time keep adding fuel to the fire. Coming from the RSS/BJP, it is hardly surprising but what is different this time is that they are continuing with their venom-spewing mode despite being the ‘Ruling Party’ of India. Further, the nature of attacks on democratic values today is completely different from the past incidents like 1984, 1992, 2002 or a host of other incidents of communal or sectarian violence. Earlier such violence was limited either by region, community, time span or the form of attack. But what we see this time from East to West and North to South, from real world to virtual world, from Dalits to Muslims, from writers to rationalists, from film makers to historians, from artists to scientist, from FTII to IITs, from beef to buffoons and from killing to ink spilling, is simply unprecedented!
Never before (except during Emergency) in the history of our country, have members of the ‘Ruling Party’ been involved in Fascist activities on such a large scale. Killers of rationalists, writers, lynchers of innocents on stupid suspicion, rioters, hate mongers, prophets of violence all belong to ‘One Ruling Party’. This creates an apprehension that Fascism is taking over our motherland in an organized manner, because the last time when such anti-social, anti-rational and anti-national elements belonged to ‘One Ruling Party’ it happened in the initial days of Nazi Germany & Taliban Afghanistan/Pakistan. No Indian nationalist would like India to become either Nazi Germany or Taliban Afghanistan/Pakistan. Wherever and whenever such tendencies could not be tamed at the initial stage, the horrors that followed are well documented in the history books. At times like these, it is the utmost duty of every Indian to raise the alarm bells as loud as possible and save India from the horrors of Fascism. As I said, these are the initial days and eventually it may all turn out to be gross exaggeration but in the fight against Fascism, it is always better to err on the side of caution than to see your country being ravaged by their violence.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Calls for an Award Wapsi were first given by Gandhiji against the mindless violence of the imperialist British[/pullquote]
Calls for an Award Wapsi were first given by Gandhiji against the mindless violence of the imperialist British. Tagore also returned his award in protest against the colonizer’s violence. Award Wapsi is a legitimate and non-violent method of protest available to us. Thus the conscience keepers of India protesting against growing intolerance through non-violent Satyagrah , far from defaming the country, are performing a seminal national duty to save India from the ultimate disgrace of Fascism. Every “patriotic” Indian should support the protesting writers / scientists / businessmen / artists / filmmakers / actors / historians / RBI Governor / President of India and all those who are fighting to prevent the Fascist forces from destroying our beloved country. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Almost everyone bearing the flag of tolerance, both political and not so political, (the Jaitleys, the Sharmas, the Yogis, the Babas, the Khers, the Tandons, the Pundits, the Kapoors, etc.) belong to the upper caste Manuvadi Brahmanical order[/pullquote]
However, one very interesting aspect of the entire debate which has gone completely unnoticed is the caste profile of those marching militantly with the ‘Flag of Tolerance’! Almost everyone bearing the flag of tolerance, both political and not so political, (the Jaitleys, the Sharmas, the Yogis, the Babas, the Khers, the Tandons, the Pundits, the Kapoors, etc.) belong to the upper caste Manuvadi Brahmanical order who are themselves beneficiaries of centuries of “tolerance” by Hindustanis (SC, ST, OBC).
Perhaps for the first time, acknowledgement of this fact is coming from Manuvadis who have exploited the tolerance of Hindustanis to maintain their vice-like grip over the Indian state, society and politics. But the irony of this acknowledgement is two-fold. First, the values which led to the sudden spurt in the temper of intolerance invariably belongs to Brahmanical Manuvad. Secondly, individuals and groups both as spokespersons and foot-soldiers of intolerance also belong to the same Brahmanical Manuvad. Observers of Manuvadi strategic planning over centuries can not lose sight of this irony. There is every possibility that the temperature of intolerance has been purposefully raised in order to preempt any effort to highlight the Manuvadi character of the ‘Ruling Party’ of the day which openly and shamelessly professes Brahmanism. Therefore, the response of Hindustanis to this intolerance debate should be measured and tempered keeping in mind the strategic interests of Hindustanis and chameleon character of Manuvadis.
A note on Manuvad Broadly speaking, upper castes led by Brahmins who constitute some 15% of total Indian population divided the rest of the population into lower caste categories. It was a political exercise of hierarchy construction, pigeon-holing and stigmatizing. A religious text book titled Manusmriti, authored by Manu, was used by these upper caste, upper class minority to sanctify and consolidate their stronghold on Indian politics, economy, and society which continues till date. This is why stratification of Indian society on caste lines is referred as Manuvad and because it has been created and perpetuated by Brahmins sometimes as Brahmanical Manuvad. By generating various caste labels, the Manuvadis were successful in defining standards and attaching labels. Once labeled, the individual got stigmatized and the significant others either acquired a distance from him or put her in a “surplus population” pool to be used for menial jobs. To put it bluntly, the Schedule Tribes, Schedule Caste and Other Backward Castes have been degraded to third class citizenry by Manuvadi politics.